Child safety in cars a concern as temperatures rise

As the weather temperatures continue to rise, so does the concern about kids being left in hot cars.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- As the weather temperatures continue to rise, so does the concern about kids being left in hot cars.

In the past 15 years, hundreds of kids in the U.S. have died in hot cars. It usually happens when a child is strapped into the back seat and a parent gets out of the car to run a quick errand, forgetting that the child is still in the car.

On a Famously Hot day, cars can heat up as quickly as 19 degrees in 10 minutes, creating a potentially deadly environment for a child.

"A child's body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult, just because of their size and their body surface area," said Dr. Elizabeth Mack at Palmetto Children's Hospital. "The heat can get to their core a lot quicker than an adult."

Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children, said Mack. In the past year 32 U.S. children died from heat stroke after being left in a car.

"In the case of heat stroke -- a child's body -- once it gets up to about 104 degrees, the organs can start to shut down, and once it reaches 107 degrees, commonly, that is lethal," said Mack.

Symptoms can quickly progress from flushed dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death, said Mack.

"They can start to be confused," said Mack. "That's extremely concerning -- if a child is not acting like themselves or confused at all or not wanting to play."

If your child has any of those symptoms, they should be rushed to the emergency room immediately, according to back.

In order to avoid leaving your child in the car, use something that will remind you, she advises.

"I suggest putting your purse or your bag or your keys, or whatever you would not leave your car without, right beside your child in the back seat -- in the car seat of course -- and that way when you get to your destination, you have to get your purse; you have to get your child, no matter if they are sleeping or not," said Mack.

Never leave a child alone in a car, no matter how brief, advises Mack. She says cars and child body temperatures heat up too quickly to take that risk.